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Black Lives Matter Or All Lives Matter?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Yes, black lives matter, but don’t all lives matter? That seems to be the subject of some political dispute.

When asked which statement is closest to their own views, 78% of Likely U.S. Voters say all lives matter. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 11% say black lives matter. Nine percent (9%) say neither statement reflects their point of view. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Thirty-one percent (31%) of black voters say black lives matter is closest to their own views, but just nine percent (9%) of whites and 10% of other minority voters agree. Eighty-one percent (81%) of whites and 76% of other minority voters opt instead for all lives matter, and 64% of blacks agree.

“Black lives matter” was initially a slogan used by those protesting what they see as excessive police violence against blacks in this country but now has been adopted as the name of a political organization. Hillary Clinton is the latest major politician confronted by the Black Lives Matter organization, and she has asked them for guidance on how to address the criminal justice issue.

Voters are suspicious of why politicians deal with racial issues. Only 17% believe they raise those issues to address real problems. Seventy percent (70%) say they do so just to get elected, although that’s down from 78% last November. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 17-18, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Earlier this month, Americans didn’t have much good to say about the protests in Ferguson, Missouri on the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer. A grand jury chose not to indict the police officer in connection with the shooting.

Most Americans have an even more positive view of their local police and don’t consider their tactics out of line, but blacks are more critical than whites and other minority adults.

Blacks are nearly as suspicious as other voters, however, when it comes to the motivations of politicians who raise racial issues. Only 22% of black voters think politicians raise these issues to address real problems, a view shared by 16% of whites and 18% of other minority voters. But 66% of blacks agree with 71% of whites and 66% of other minority voters that most politicians just raise these issues to get elected.

Voters under 40 are slightly more likely than their elders to put black lives matter first, but all age groups are equally cynical about what motivates most politicians to talk about racial issues.

Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Republicans and 80% of voters not affiliated with either major party say all lives matter is closest to their own personal views. Among Democratic voters, 23% say black lives matter, while 67% feel all lives matter.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Democrats believe most politicians raise racial issues to address real problems, but only 12% of Republicans and 11% of unaffiliated voters agree.

Voters who identify with black lives matter are more likely to think most politicians raise racial issues to address real problems.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of black voters think most black Americans receive unfair treatment from the police. White voters by a 56% to 30% margin don’t believe that’s true. Other minority voters are evenly divided.  But 70% of all voters believe the level of crime in low-income inner city communities is a bigger problem in America today than police discrimination against minorities.

Forty-five percent (45%) think the justice system is fair to black and Hispanic Americans, but nearly as many (41%) now disagree. Just 19% of black voters think the justice system is fair to blacks and Hispanics, however, compared to 50% of whites and 44% of other minority voters.

Just 13% of Americans think most deaths that involve the police are the fault of the policeman.

But Americans agree race relations in this country have taken a decided turn for the worse.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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